I don’t know about all of you, but I really hate to waste wood. I have a lot of small blanks around the shop, so I could have easily made myself a handle for a somewhat new file in my shop. During some re-organizing I have been doing, I came across a file handle that I think came on a used file I got years ago. It had a small split towards the end where the file’s tang was driven (no surprise, right?), and had some copper wire wrapped around the same end of the handle, trying to keep the split from opening and releasing the file.
The opening in this old handle was too large for the new file, and this handle was fairly long (between 6″ – 7″), so it felt like I could re-purpose the handle. I used a narrow triangular file as my depth gauge, and with this I was able to confirm the original hole did not go too deep into the handle.
With the “depth gauge”, I made a mark showing the full depth of the hole, and then a second mark effectively off-setting from the bottom. I used my Lie-Nielsen crosscut saw to quickly remove the excess portion of the handle, and then could compare the size of the hole at depth vs. the size of hole at the original opening. As I expected, the inner portion of the hole was smaller in diameter and was perfect for the widest portion of the new file’s hole.
At this point, the hole in the new handle is only about 1/4″ deep. Rather than taking three or four different drill bits, of different sizes, so it would create an almost perfect slope for the file’s tang, I just chose one that was close to the same diameter as the tang, about 1/3 of the way down from the file, or in other words, about 2/3 up from the tip of the tang. I centered this bit in the existing hole, and while holding the handle in the face vise on my bench, drilled until the bit was just slightly deeper than was necessary to reach the portion of the tang I measured.
To seat the file in the handle, I placed the tang as deep as it would go with finger pressure, and then dropped the file/handle unit onto my bench, so the handle hit squarely on the very bottom and the file was vertical. If you listen to the sound it makes, when the handle contacts the wooden bench, you’ll know if it is well seated or not. The first light drop had a sort of dull/deadened sound, but the subsequent drops had more of a ringing type of tone. I find this usually holds the file sufficiently, but I can still get the handle off, if I decide to change to another.
After knowing the file and handle fit well together, I went back and slightly modified the handle so my fingers and thumb on the driving hand, have an indention that feels better in use, to me. I used a couple of my Auriou rasps to generate some of this indention, and to speed it up a bit, I used a somewhat shallow carving gouge to excavate some wood. When the shape felt pretty good, I used rasps and then sandpaper to remove any portion that was too coarse, but I do like to leave some texture for feel.
At this time this is all I will do to this handle, as it feels good and looks right compared to the length of the file. I may decide to apply an oil varnish finish to the handle in the future, but I guess only time will tell.
I hope everyone has enjoyed this article and might find a way to re-purpose something similar in your shop. Please let me know if you have any questions or comments.
After I finished some work last night, I knew I’d have a bit of free time, so it was time to put the new Saw Vise through it’s paces.
I pulled an old, fairly unremarkable saw from my inventory, that is about 24″ long and has cross-cut teeth. It looked like it may not have ever been re-sharpened; Ever! Ok, I know many buy and own hand saws, and never even think about re-sharpening, and with the possible infrequent use, don’t really notice the steady but gradual decline in overall sawing ease or quality. If you’ve never seen anyone sharpen a saw, or been around someone that even talks about saws needing re-sharpening, why would they even think about it? Perhaps my talking about this topic will help bridge a gap for someone. (stepping down from soapbox, hehe)
I clamped the long leg of my Saw Vise in the face vise on my bench, and loosened the tensioning knob. I inserted the saw into the jaws, and with light tension applied with the vise’s knob, I could finely adjust where I wanted the saw’s teeth. Once situated, it only took a couple of turns of the knob to apply enough tension to hold the saw very secure.
The new vise’s dimensions, in conjunction with the bench’s face vise, also put the teeth of the saw no more than a couple inches below my regular site-line. This was wonderful and made it much easier to see what I was doing (with my Magni-Focus headset of course), without much bending over at all, which kept my back feeling good. I picked up a small triangular file that didn’t yet have a handle, and decided to try it in my a super-fine pin vise I bought from Bridge City a number of years ago. I usually just make a wooden handle for the files, but I enjoyed the feel of the pin vise’s extra heft. This extra mass felt like it may have helped make the file a bit smoother, when it was in the cut.
I made a pass down one side of the saw, holding my file with it’s handle swung about 15-degrees, compared to the straight across action when filing rip teeth on a saw. This angle is to follow the shape of the cross-cut teeth, which have a bevel on the front/rear edge of each tooth, so they sever the wood fibers as you cut across the grain. The file is held so it is still parallel to the floor, not to confuse the 15-degrees I mentioned, as tilting the file’s handle up or down. (I hope that is clear)
I unclamped the saw, flipped it so the handle was then at the other end of the Saw Vise, and quickly re-clamped it. I made the second pass down the saw teeth, filing the teeth that weren’t touched from the other side of the saw plate, so all surfaces were sharp.
It can be surprising just how much metal is removed, during a sharpening, as you might make out in the photo below.
It’s amazing how the mass of this Saw Vise made such a huge difference, as there was absolutely zero vibration, even when I tested filing a few teeth that were outside of the jaw’s reach.
Thanks as always for checking out this article. Please let me know if you have any questions or comments.
After a day or so, I like to go back and re-read my articles, and there are times that I find I’m wanting/needing to add some more detail. On the saw sharpening article, I think it might be useful to show some of the tools I used and hopefully a tip or two. If you’ve […]
I took my small handsaw with me the other day, so I’d be able to adjust the size of some small boards, while on site. I hadn’t used this particular saw in quite a while, so I was a bit surprised when it seemed quite dull, during use. I finally had some extra time with […]
You can read this article at: http://blog.woodworkingtooltips.com/2013/11/card-scraper-preparation-you-too-can-do-it/ Thanks for checking in! Lee